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Winter 2020


STUFF M A G A Z I N E the go-to guide for Upper Valley families

This issue sponsored by Kearsarge Magazine ďż˝ kearsargemagazine.com

Is your child struggling with functioning at home, school or both? West Central Behavioral Health is a nonprofit behavioral health center that has been helping children since 1977. Our child and family outpatient programs provide services for children ages 0-18 and their families. Our compassionate clinical treatment addresses anxiety, depression, trauma and conduct problems. We focus on helping families cope with divorce, addiction, violence and financial challenges. We also help support children and families struggling with the added stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.   We offer services in-person at our clinics, your home, school or via telehealth on a secure video-conferencing platform that is safe, private, and HIPAA compliant. • • • • • •

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Winter 2020


Inside Art


6 15

12 DEPARTMENTS 18 Read: Read EVERYTHING with Your Children By Mark Binder 21

Kids with Disabilities: Transitioning from Shorts to Pants By Laura Perez, Special Needs Support Center


Grandparenting: Eight Ways to Connect with Grandparents During the Pandemic By Jill Morgenstern

24 Health: Letʼs Talk Mental Health By Chase Trybulski, West Central Behavioral Health 27 Nature Nook: Tracks in the Snow By Katie Bushueff

20 2



Stuck indoors? Use the time to create. Three local arts organizations — Artistree Community Arts Center, Library Arts Center, Children’s Art Center — share craft projects and art ideas for all ages. Sidebar: Three “Use What You Have” craft projects by a local mom.


Family Travel this Holiday Season ‘Tis the season for travel. The coronavirus pandemic is still lurking around every corner, but families want to be together during the holidays. How can families travel, and still be safe? Lebanon-based Global Rescue offers advice. By Laura Jean Whitcomb


Holiday Safety From the scent of balsam fir to a crackling fireplace, holiday traditions delight the senses and ignite our imaginations. To ensure family memories are as safe as they are wonderful, here’s some safety advice from the experts.



Handcrafted Gifts for Everyone On Your List

Lebanon Art & Crafts Association



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editor’s note Hello families! We’re back with a winter issue. I wasn’t sure it would happen, to be honest. Kid Stuff advertisers are nonprofits, schools and small, locally owned businesses — like the magazine — and it is an interesting time for everyone involved. It’s hard to ask for advertising dollars during a pandemic, but the businesses and organizations on these pages believe in the magazine’s mission. They want to help us educate and entertain Upper Valley families.

And many are chiming in; you’ll see quite a few new writers in this issue, many from local organizations sharing their expertise. You’ll be able to learn from West Central Behavioral Health, Special Needs Support Center, Artistree, Library Arts Center and the Children’s Art Studio. If you have something to share, please let us know. We welcome new voices on our pages — from businesses and service organizations to doc-

tors and dentists to parents and kids of all ages — and we’d welcome some new advertisers, too! Stay safe and healthy,



Find the Flower and win FREE Stuff Congratulations to Eli, 10, and Jacob, 12, of Lebanon, N.H., for winning the fall Find the Flower contest. The brothers emailed me at the exact same time (one through mom's account and the other through dad's)! This winter Kid Stuff has put together a fun gift basket for the young ones! Babies and young toddlers will enjoy child-safe toys, hardcover books and a puzzle, to name just a few items we’ve found, fell in love with and now are ready to give away. It’s valued at $75. Just email us at ljwhitco@yahoo.com with: 1. Your name and age 2. Your complete mailing address 3. And which ad had the Kid Stuff flower! Good luck!






P.O. Box 500 Grantham, N.H. 03753 uppervalleykidstuff.com info@kearsargemagazine.com PUBLISHER Kearsarge Magazine LLC EDITOR Laura Jean Whitcomb The



Jennifer Stark



Laura Jean Whitcomb

All Shall Be Well Again


Mark Binder katie Bushueff Lani Carney kathleen Dolan Ceileigh Hammond Brianna Marino Jill Morgenstern Laura Perez Caitlin Mauser Rowe Chase Trybulski Laura Jean Whitcomb




Jim Block Lucy Thompson Kid Stuff is the go-to guide for parents, grand­parents and caregivers. Published four times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter), Kid Stuff is available at 100+ locations across the Upper Valley, and mailed to schools, child cares, doctor/ dentist offices and hair salons. Copyright 2020-21 by Kearsarge Magazine LLC. All photographs and articles copyright by the photographer or writer unless otherwise noted. Except for one-time personal use, no reproduction without written permission of the copyright owner(s) is allowed. ON THE COVER Solitary Slider A lone boy pulls his sled uphill making new tracks as he does. It will be a long, fast ride down. By Jim Block

Respect. Engage. Learn. Work. Serve. Grow. The HACTC offers the following programs to high school students in the greater Upper Valley region: • • • •

Automotive Technology Building Trades Business Administration Career & Technology Exploration • Collision Repair & Refinishing • Cosmetology • Culinary Arts

• • • • • •

Design, Illustration & Media Arts Education Sciences Health Sciences Industrial Mechanics & Welding Natural Resources STEM

Hartford Area Career & Technology Center (HACTC) 1 Gifford Road, White River Junction, VT 05001 Phone: 802-295-8630, www.hactc.com Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. UPPERVALLEYKIDSTUFF.COM



Local arts organizations share some ideas to keep kids busy this holiday season.


tuck indoors? Use the time to create. Three local arts organizations — Artistree Community Arts Center, Library Arts Center, Children’s Art Studio — share craft projects fun for all ages.




CANNING JAR LID ORNAMENT Courtesy of Artistree Community Arts Center, South Pomfret, Vt. Any age can make this easy ornament, which can hang on a tree, a mantle or a window.

MATERIALS · Wide mouth canning jar rings · Colored pencils (and sharpener)

Here’s a link for printable artwork for this project:

· Art printouts or circle shapes to make original artwork

https://goodwerks.files.wordpress. com/2017/06/canning-ring-art1.pdf

· Vegetable or canola oil · Cotton balls or Q-tips · Small paper plates · Glue · Twine or yarn · Glitter (optional) · Black permanent marker


STEP ONE Cut circle shape out of paper (our printout, if using).


STEP FOUR Spread glue along inside rim of the lid.

Color your design with colored pencils.

7 2 STEP THREE Use a cotton ball to wipe oil onto the backside of the circle (not the colored side).



STEP FIVE Adhere the circle to the lid.

STEP SIX Turn the lid over so the ornament is facing up.

STEP SEVEN (optioanl)


Spread glue around the top edge of the rim and sprinkle glitter on glue and shake off any excess.

Wrap length of yarn or twine around the perimeter of the lid and secure with a knot. Ensure there is enough length to have extra string from which to hang the ornament. This project is from Kathleen Dolan of Artistree Community Arts Center, nonprofit committed to making creative expression and its appreciation accessible to our community. Offerings are designed to nurture each person’s inherent creative capacities and raise the possibility of art as a vital force in an individual’s overall growth and expressive abilities. Learn more at artistreevt.org ›››››




SKETCH AND PAINT Courtesy of Children’s Art Studio in Norwich, Vt. The children in the Children’s Art Studio consider snow leopards to be beautiful animals. The leopards live on some of the highest mountains in our world. We are amazed at their big, fur-covered paws — and know they are safe on the steep mountain sides they navigate. We know their long, long tails keep them balanced as they chase and “play” in the snow as well. A big secret we have discovered in our art class is that the snow leopards are camouflaged — hardly seen by any species, including us. We have learned that while they are adaptable, they are now endangered. Barely a thousand or two thousand exist today. The children say, “Let’s do something to protect them, Miss Lani!” So we prioritize and continue our membership in the Snow Leopard Trust. Since 1981 this organization has led efforts to help these beautiful cats survive. This I know as an educator: The children have an innate desire to love animals and observe them and their terrain more intimately. This painting of a snow leopard by an advanced student in our studio reflects this love. Observe the depth. It is not a motivation of abstract concert for the children and me. In our art studio — and in our youth and children’s classes — we value the abundance of a species. We value the health of a species. We pay attention to other creature’s lives! It is a moral value, we think, and we hope this artistic endeavor, our painting, widens your consciousness of the natural world. The children believe we can make a difference and stop the abuse of our natural world. We must! Our class used Little Mist by Angela McAllister as inspiration. Let it inspire you to sketch and paint a beautiful snow leopard, too. Moreover, may you help them to survive. Lani Carney earned a bachelor’s in sociology and a master’s in education from the University of Oregon, and a HERS Certificate from Wellesley College. She has taught many courses including Psychology of Adolescence, Child Development and Psychology of Adjustment. Learn more about the Children’s Art Studio at www.childrensartstudionorwich.com




MAKING CLOUD DOUGH Courtesy of the Library Arts Center, Newport, N.H. A fun snow day craft for kids that is simple, fun and only requires two ingredients! It’s the softest play dough you’ve ever seen, and the whole project comes together in just minutes.

MATERIALS · ½ cup lotion or hair conditioner · 1 cup cornstarch · food coloring · bowl, spoon and an airtight container to store your finished cloud dough


STEP ONE Add lotion to a bowl and add 2 to 3 drops of food coloring at a time, mixing after each addition until combined and you’re happy with the color.

STEP TWO Add cornstarch to bowl and mix until combined.

STEP THREE Knead the dough with your hands until it has a dough-like consistency. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more cornstarch. If it seems to be too dry, add just a bit more lotion.


STEP FOUR Play! When you’re done, place it in an airtight container to help it stay nice and soft. If it becomes too dry, you can always add another teaspoon of lotion and knead it in. This project from Caitlin Mauser Rowe, the arts educator at the Library Arts Center in Newport. The Library Arts Center is a regional cultural and arts center, where residents and visitors can observe, study and participate in the arts. It has served the community since 1967 and offers a variety of arts opportunities from classes and workshops to events and exhibitions. Learn more at libraryartscenter.org


Ideal for toddlers, this craft helps with fine motor skill development (rolling the paper and putting it into the bottle). It also helps with color skills. If you add hard items to the bottle, this craft becomes a musical instrument.  





USE WHAT YOU HAVE BY CEILEIGH HAMMOND Winter is the best season to create things. It’s nice for children to feel like they can make things, too, whether to give as gifts or just to enjoy creating. Teaching children to use their hands, imagine different ideas, and then actually create something — especially with a loved one — has lasting beneficial effects. These three crafts help with developmental milestones and use supplies you already have or can easily find, making it easy to introduce recycling and reusing. Tailor these crafts to fit the age of your child and you can continue to do them, modifying them as your child grows.  


Pine Needle Stars This craft brings the outside in. It can be recreated every season with different natural materials. The key is double-sided contact paper you can stick to a window. And it doesn’t always have to involve shapes; it can just be a collage of what you and your child find on walks outside. In the winter, I like to pick up pine needles from our red pines and create star shapes to put in our windows to celebrate winter.


Ideal for toddlers, this craft emphasizes color and shapes. Gross motor skills get us outside and fine motor skills help us pick up the treasures we find and create the craft.  

MATERIALS • Double sided contact paper • Pine needles • Scissors INSTRUCTIONS


While walking outside with your child go on the lookout for pine needles, but feel free to pick up anything they are interested in.

STEP TWO Draw a star, snowflake, heart, circle — any shape your child wants — on the contact paper.

STEP THREE Stick pine needles to the contact paper in the shape that you drew, then cut out the shape.

STEP FOUR Next peel off the back side of the contact paper and stick to your window.




Picture Family Book

Wrapping Paper Shaker

When you are ready to toss out all those holiday photo cards, this is a perfect time to make a family picture book for your child. This is a great craft for kids of many different ages. If your child is a baby, you will be doing the work, but they will enjoy seeing the pictures. (It helps babies with facial recognition.) If your child is older, they can pick the pictures they want, help you glue and, depending on age, cut and staple the paper as well.

This time of year, there is a lot of wrapping paper used and tossed. This craft helps you feel good about using some of that paper again. MATERIALS • Big, clear, plastic bottle with a top you can put back on • Wrapping paper and tissue paper • Cheerios, dried beans or jingle bells

MATERIALS • Colored construction paper • Staples and stapler • Glue stick • Holiday cards • Pen






Cut out the faces from your holiday cards of your family and friends.  

STEP TWO Take four sheets of 8.5 x 11 construction paper in a stack on top of each other, then fold them in half horizontally. Then fold in half vertically, like a book, so you are now holding paper that measures 4¼ inches across and 5½ inches high. Open the book in the middle and staple twice, creating a bound book. Cut along the top to make pages.

As you open gifts or wrap gifts, take little bits of wrapping paper and roll them into small balls. Have your child help you. You can let your child select which paper or which colors they want.

STEP TWO Have your child pop the paper into the bottle, making a big point of announcing the color.

STEP THREE (optional) Add cheerios, dried beans, jingle bells — anything you would like to make a little noise in the bottle.



Put the top back on the bottle and let your child shake away, enjoying the colors and sounds of a craft they created.

Glue in the pictures of your family and friends, labeling the pictures if you want.





This craft is developmentally ideal for babies working on facial recognition. It is also good for toddlers, as you can ask them who is in the picture and what color are the pages. You can use words — like happy, laughing, smiling — to start identifying emotions and actions.  

Ideal for toddlers, this craft helps with fine motor skill development (rolling the paper and putting it into the bottle). It also helps with color skills. If you add hard items to the bottle, this craft becomes a musical instrument.




Family Travel this Holiday Season Lebanon-based Global Rescue offers coronavirus safety advice for families who want to travel this holiday season. BY LAURA JEAN WHITCOMB


is the season for travel. The coronavirus pandemic is still lurking around every corner, but families want to be together during the holidays. How can families travel, and still be safe? Kid Stuff magazine asked Global Rescue, the pioneer in field rescue and travel protection services, how to plan a safe and healthy family trip this holiday season. The company, based in Lebanon, N.H., has helped members travel safety all over the world since 2004. They’ve assisted families with pre-trip planning and risk assessments, worked with schools and businesses to keep students and employees safe while traveling, and rescued adventure travelers in injured remote locations. The medical and security professionals at Global Rescue shared six tips to help Upper Valley families who want to spend times with loved ones this winter.

ONE HAVE A FAMILY MEETING Check in with the grandparents before visiting. Their age group is the one most likely to be affected by coronavirus. “Most seniors have underlying medical conditions, like heart or lung disease or diabetes, that puts them




at a higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 illness,” said Jacqueline Sioson, operations supervisor at Global Rescue. Share what your family has done for protection measures, ask about their health status, and decide whether a trip is a good idea.

T WO MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS HEALTHY Everyone in the family should schedule a travel health consultation three to four weeks before the trip. A travel health consultation is an appointment with a health care provider where a traveler can discuss the health concerns that might happen during a trip and what steps they can take to decrease the risk. “Immunizations and vaccination recommendations are the smallest part of a travel health consultation,” says Dr. Claudia Zegans. “Certain health conditions and medications can increase your health risks for

travel. These risks will vary by destination, activities and mode of travel. Know what medications or other treatments you will need to take with you and be sure to bring an adequate supply of each of them.”

THREE HAVE A CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL KIT A March 2020 study by The New England Journal of Medicine found the coronavirus lasted on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours, cardboard for up to 24 hours and copper for up to four hours. Of course, it’s not the main way the virus spreads — that’s due to coughs and sneezes — but it’s part of the problem. Make sure each family member has their own COVID-19 travel bag with disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and face masks.

FOUR PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE THROUGHOUT THE TRIP Children under the age of two are not going to be able to wear a mask. You’ll want to focus prevention efforts on teaching your child to keep hands to themselves and touch as few items as possible. Children over the age of two should wear a mask. All children, even if they are teenagers, will need hygiene reminders. “Teach your kids the importance of hand hygiene, wearing masks and social distancing. During vacation, advise kids to avoid touching things or strangers. Wash hands regularly. Practice social distancing even when outside,” Sioson said.

FIVE IF YOU ARE DRIVING TO YOUR DESTINATION Wear a mask, disinfect high touch surfaces like gas pumps and keypads, wash your hands with soap and water, use 60% alcohol (70% isopropyl alcohol) disinfectant as a backup, and maintain social distancing. Remain vigilant and continue to do all the things you’ve been doing for the last nine months.



If you are an outdoor enthusiast or frequent traveler, Global Rescue has a helpful blog on their website, globalrescue.com

“The greater potential risk of exposure lies not in the ‘road’ part of ‘road trip’ but in what you do once you get out of your vehicle or arrive where you’re going,” said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue. “Hotels, restaurants and other indoor environments will increase the risk if those venues haven’t adopted good infection control protocols.”

SIX IF YOU ARE FLYING TO YOUR DESTINATION Plan your route. Depending on the ages of your clan, you might want to consider a flight with a layover (small children and seniors get a chance to stretch their legs). Teens can most likely handle a longer direct flight. Add extra time to the travel schedule. Factor in any weather changes. Look up airport wait times before you get in the car. Plan to wait in lines for coronavirus screenings. Find out what documentation you’ll need. Make sure your child always has your personal information on them, along with copies of their travel consent forms, travel itinerary and passport. More valuable documents, like passports, should stay with a parent or guardian.

SE VEN CHECK YOUR HEALTH WHEN YOU RETURN HOME At the end of your trip, depending on your state of residence, you may be required to self-quarantine for 10 to 14 days. Sioson offers this advice for post-travel precautions. • Continue the prevention measures that you used during your travel (hand hygiene, wearing face masks, and social distancing). • Continue to disinfect high-touch surfaces. • Wash laundry thoroughly. • Monitor your health. Watch for these signs and symptoms: fever, coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. “Other early symptoms to watch for are chills, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, and runny nose,” Sioson said. • If you develop fever or any of the mentioned symptoms, call your health care provider right away.




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The fire is so delightful, but experts have some safety advice before lighting the fireplace — or that candle — this holiday season BY BRIANNA MARINO


rom the scent of balsam fir to a crackling fireplace, holiday traditions delight the senses and ignite our imaginations. To ensure family memories are as safe as they are wonderful, consider some safety advice from the experts. They’ve seen it all.

CHILDPROOFING Small children and pets are particularly at risk around the holidays. Many homes without small children are unlikely to be childproofed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says, “Keep an eye out for danger spots like unlocked cabinets, unattended purses, cleaning products, stairways or hot radiators.”

choking on leftover food or trying unattended alcohol. Same goes for pets. While you should always discourage counter-surfing animals, Dr. Tim Sileo of Pleasant Lake Veterinary Hospital in Elkins, N.H., cautions “foods containing chocolate are directly toxic. Beverages with caffeine or alcohol can also be toxic as well.”

FOOD CLEAN UP Refrigerated items shouldn’t sit out longer than two hours and be careful to keep hot liquids and dishes from the reach of little hands. The AAP also reminds families to clean up immediately after celebrations as toddlers could wake before the adults, potentially






Allergies? Artificial or synthetic products are far safer than natural.


FIREPLACES AND WOODSTOVES A sometimes underestimated hazard is the fireplace or woodstove. Though some may use wood for heat, according to Tony Jancetic of Tony’s Chimney LLC, “Sometimes, around the holidays, people use something they haven’t used for a whole year and things might have changed.” Jancetic, a licensed chimney inspector, has personally seen many bizarre things inside a woodstove or fireplace, including a blue heron. “There’s not always good visibility to look up a chimney and see how clean it is,” he says. Even if you don’t need a sweep, he highly recommends an inspection before the first fire.



Additional safety precautions include fire screens, gates (especially for children unfamiliar with wood burning) and fireproof flooring/ rugs to prevent ignition from embers. Although tempting to burn, wrapping paper contains chemicals unsafe for burning. “Cardboard has less ink but lots of air channels. Both cardboard and paper flame very quickly. The blasts of flame up the fireplace, past the damper, are what can light creosote and start a chimney fire,” says Jencetic. However, properly seasoned wood and even biobricks make for a perfectly safe, enjoyable burn.


Candles, a seasonal favorite, can also pose a fire hazard. Deborah Bellefeuille of Concord cautions fellow cat owners saying, “No holiday candles on the coffee table! My cat set his tail on fire just by walking by the table and swishing his fabulous tail. It happened twice before my parents finally moved the candles,” she says. Advent candles, nested in an evergreen wreath, have been known to catch the attention of local fire departments. When left unattended, they can burn down and ignite the wreath. Electric candles can provide a safe option, and many look quite realistic. In fact, there are a myriad of holiday product improvements allowing people to safely enjoy the season. Read Clarke of Clarke’s Hardware in New London, N.H., has seen these products benefit his customers, including LED lights. “LED lights use less electricity to operate, don’t generate heat like incandescent bulbs, and generally don’t break as often,” he says. This translates into less broken glass and a lower fire hazard. Clarke also

points out that you should only string three incandescent light strands together as opposed to multiple LEDs.

TREES AND TREE STANDS “Natural tree stands are getting easier to stand and mount. A base goes onto the tree and then the base goes into the stand. You can use a foot pedal and hands to get it straight,” says Clarke. Their ease and stability far exceed the traditional screw-in tree stand. For families with pets, like Adam Castor of Newport, N.H., stability is important. “When I was a kid, I had a cat that climbed our Christmas tree one year and knocked it right over. I still laugh about it now, but it was not funny then,” he says. It might not be a bad idea to tie the tree to the wall, if possible. A large, angled baby gate around the tree bottom can protect it and presents from curious hands, paws and noses. Breakable decorations should be hung well out of reach or not used at all.

Considering many trees are cut up to 60 days prior to purchase and then placed in a warm home, they will need lots of water. “At minimum, water them once a day,” says Clarke. He suggests using the finger test: run your fingers gently along the tree and, if loads of needles fall off, it’s time to get rid of the tree. Dr. Sileo of Pleasant Lake Veterinary Hospital emphasizes the need to secure trees to prevent

injury and damage and, for those with live trees, families with pets need to proceed with caution. “It’s not recommended to put additives in water for live trees as pets are likely to drink the water,” says Dr. Sileo.

DECORATING While decorating, Dr. Sileo says, “Tinsel is a no-no. Poinsettia is toxic to dogs and cats. Holly and mistletoe can cause GI upset in dogs and cats as well.” Pet owners should be careful with wire placement, especially if there’s a history of chewing on wires. Perhaps the best safety advice is, as Clarke says, “Just take your time and enjoy what you’re doing.” After all, holidays can simultaneously be as safe as they are joyous occasions for the young, the old and the furry. Brianna Marino lives with her husband, three children, cat and various livestock on a small homestead. For more DIY, recipes and homesteading adventures with kids, follow her blog at mountsunapeehomestead.com





Read EVERYTHING with Your Children If you haven't tried it already, now is a good time to snuggle up with a good ebook with your kids.



n the playground next to my house, parents often take a book from the Little Free Library and read to their children. Then, when the youngster toddles off, the adults pick up their phones and begin browsing. On the one hand, it’s laudable so many parents are reading to their children. We teach them to read as



escape, entertainment and to gather information. Reading is crucial for acquiring knowledge, learning the rules of life, understanding the ingredients on a box of cereal, and picking the correct person to vote for on a ballot. Even more important, reading blows the mind open to possibilities. As author Neil Gaiman said, “A book is a dream


you hold in your hands.” But the unintended lesson of the parents in the park is this: books made of paper are for children; digital devices are for adults. It is a rare parent who snuggles next to their young ones with a good ebook. And only a few suggest, “Hey, it’s time to listen to an audiobook!”

WHY NOT DIGITAL? I first noticed the prejudice that parents have against buying their children digital reading material when my ebook, Cinderella Spinderella was released. When you think of Cinderella, there’s a good chance that you picture the blonde Disney character but, as a storyteller, I perform to diverse audiences. In my spoken version, the wheelchair-bound Cinderella is never physically described. I want young listeners to put themselves into the story. For the digital version, rather than pick a single ethnicity, we created an ebook that allowed readers to choose what Cinderella and the Prince looked like. Steve Mardo made 300 drawings! The project

won five major ebook awards and came in second for Best Children’s eBook to a book from Scholastic at Digital Book World. But parents didn’t buy it. Why? Grown-ups didn’t want to encourage their children to have more screen time. They wanted to focus on learning. Printed books weren’t distraction machines. You can’t “click” away and watch a video or play a game.

CHANGING THE WAY WE READ There is something wonderful, powerful and positive about physical objects. I still have the worn paperback copies of The Lord of The Rings that I bought for 95 cents each. As an artist, I love and take great pride in creating excellent printed books that look good on the shelf and feel good in the hand.

You just can’t become attached to an ebook in the same way you can with a “real” book. When I’m reading on my Kindle, I often don’t remember the book’s title, or who the writer is, because I only see the cover once or twice. But I love being able to turn on back lighting and read in bed after the lights are out or opening to the current page on my phone when I’m waiting in line. I listen to audio books on my phone while driving, biking, doing the dishes. This month, you might be reading this article in a printed magazine, or you might be reading it on a laptop. No, I don’t want parents to stop reading paper books with their children. But the technology has changed. Our behaviors have changed. The way we teach our children also has to change.

READING BEYOND PRINT If we continue to insist “print is for children, digital is for adults,” most young people will lose the love of reading as soon as they get their own devices. Those of you who have older children may have experienced this already. Don’t give up print but do read digital with them. Listen to audio with them. (Listening to an audio book isn’t “cheating,” although it does flex different muscles than actual reading.) One of the biggest challenges we face, as a society, is the waning ability of people to focus on a single subject or idea. ›››››




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Printed books are perfect for long-form exploration of a particular topic. They say one thing, and only one thing for all time. Digital devices are flawed this way. Turning a digital page is exactly the same as clicking, and every page turn is an invitation to do something else. But, as the pandemic has revealed, it is becoming increasingly necessary for us to absorb information in the digital space. Digital focus can be taught and encouraged, and the best way to do that is to read everything with your children at every opportunity and on any kind of device. Here are five ways to encourage learning beyond print: • Spend time with your child looking for ebooks to read. In the same way you take trips to the library, take a few minutes to browse online selections. Teach them how to check out library ebooks and start reading them instantly. • Begin reading ebooks with your children at bedtime. Read them while waiting at the doctor’s office and on airplanes. • Listen to audiobooks in the car and during chores like after dinner dishes or yard work. • Show your children the ebooks and audiobooks that you’re reading. Let them know you’re not just doing work (or on Facebook). • Teach your children how to overcome distraction by using their digital devices deeply. Mark Binder is the author of more than two-dozen books and audio books for children and adults. He was on the 2020 New Hampshire Kids, Books and the Arts Roster. Mark’s books and audios have won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and been nominated for the Audie Audiobook Award. They are available everywhere books and ebooks are sold. For a free story via email, visit markbinderbooks.com


Transitioning from Shorts to Pants Tips to help your child have fun and stay safe this winter



s the cold of winter settles in for us in the Upper Valley, so does the need to bundle up before heading outside. For children with sensory processing disorders, this can prove to be a difficult task. Your child may not like the feel of bulky clothing or the noise that outer layers create. Many children with sensory sensitivities prefer the lightness of summer clothing. Here are some tips to help your child make a successful transition. When it is time to transition to winter clothing, it is a good idea to store the summer clothes out of sight. Explaining the reason for the change in simple terms can be helpful, too. For some children, saying, “It’s cold outside so we need to wear our coats,” or “We put your summer clothes away until it is warm again” can help decrease anxiety related to the change in routine.

Taking time to practice dressing for cold weather may help your child be comfortable with the winter routine of bundling up. Try putting on coats, hats, and gloves in the house when you’re not in a hurry to catch the bus. A timer can help your child keep the coat on for longer periods of time. You can use an audible timer that beeps or a visual timer like a clock. Using your judgement, try increasing the time they wear their winter clothes gradually. Depending on your child’s developmental level, it may be helpful to



If your child is prone to wandering, you will want to be especially aware of the increased danger during cold weather.

help them understand the dangers of cold weather. Reading stories describing extreme weather is sometimes a helpful approach. Make the change gradually. Start in the fall with adding a puffy vest before you go straight to the puffy winter jacket. Switch from crocs to sneakers to boots. Consider adding a note or two to your calendar to remind yourself to prepare for each season. Laura Perez is the executive director of the Special Needs Support Center in Lebanon, N.H. The Special Needs Support Center (SNSC) is a group of individuals and families throughout the Upper Valley and beyond who proudly work together to create a community where people with special needs, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, can live their best lives. Learn more at snsc-uv.org





Eight Ways to Connect with Grandparents During the Pandemic



s a child I was jealous of kids who could visit their grandparents after school. Having grandparents close by seemed like it would have been so much fun! But how can we maintain the connection when physical distance is a necessity during the coronavirus pandemic? Even grandparents who live just down the block from their grandchildren may be playing it safe and reducing or eliminating in person visits. Parents are struggling to find new and inventive ways to maintain a close, cozy relationship between the generations.



Despite the encouraged isolation, some grandparent/grandchild relationships are becoming even closer because of the pandemic. Gabrielle Nidus discovered a resourceful way to keep her son’s and mother’s relationship close. Her mother gives her son daily piano lessons over Skype. “It’s pretty amazing. They play piano and then talk. Which my son insists on. She’s all by herself so I think she appreciates the company,” says Nidus. “I am so grateful to her for learning how to Skype and sharing her love of music with him. It is a new bond between them.” If you’re looking for ways to engage your kids with their grandparents, try some of these ideas:




Many families are getting together outside when weather permits, spacing chairs out more than six feet apart, and enjoying time together. If grandparents are close by, this makes an easy way to keep in close contact. Many families have a standing weekly date. Others take a more casual approach.



My mother calls my 8-year-old daughter at 10:30 each morning for another chapter of The Borrowers. This connection not only serves to keep her connected with her grand-

mother but has all the benefits of reading aloud, such as building her vocabulary and giving her a positive attitude toward reading.


3Just because you can’t

visits in person. “We have lots of FaceTime calls with our 1-year-old granddaughter in Arkansas. Usually it’s when she’s eating dinner because that’s the only time she’s stationary. And she likes the entertainment while eating,” says Morrison. “It’s a great way for us to keep up with her.”

get together in person doesn’t mean game night is out of the question. There are many opportunities to play online games such as Scrabble Go or Spyfall. Additionally, apps such as Together or Houseparty offer fun games for grandparents and children to play together. Just as traditional board games offer educational benefits during play, online games can help develop skills such as vocabulary and math.



Kids may be interested in taking an online class alongside their grandparents. Find something that interests both kids and adults such as a yoga or dance class. Online schools such as outschool.com offer classes that appeal to different age groups and offer a wide variety of courses, such as a Harry Potter cooking class.


What a great way to practice writing while putting a smile on grandma’s or grandpa’s face.



Personal correspondence always brings a smile and is a great improvement over the usual stack of bills and junk mail. The Touchnote app allows children to mail postcards from a phone, complete with a picture. As an added bonus, kids get to practice their writing skills and conventions of letter writing.




Many families are using Zoom and FaceTime to keep grandparents and grandkids connected. My own family has established a weekly Zoom call with my parents, brother, nephews and children all participating on the same call. Jen Morrison, a grandmother of three, is keeping up via FaceTime since she can’t have her usual



Apps such as Zoom offer a screen sharing option that lets kids and grandparents create artwork together. What a fun way to create! Jill Morgenstern is a teacher of 13 years and has a master’s degree in teaching reading. She graduated from Hanover High School and Frances C. Richmond Middle School. Her parents live in Norwich, Vt.





Let's Talk Mental Health Many belive mental health conditions are rare. But 44 million Americans suffer from a mental health illness. Here's what to do if your child is struggling.



hat can I do if my child is struggling with mental health issues? No parent wants to see their child in pain. If a guardian sees signs their child is struggling with mental illness, they can be helpful in several ways. Parents and guardians can listen, link and learn.

LISTEN. Please ask your child questions about what their experiences are. You can communicate with them about what you see and listen to their perspective about what is happening for them. Sometimes behavioral challenges are a result of a symptom, not a child being naughty.

LINK. Connect your child with a helping professional who can teach them to manage and cope with mental illness. Remember that communicating directly with those professionals and getting your child to appointments consistently is paramount to the success of the process. The parent/guardian is the expert on their child and that information is valuable.



LEARN. Learning about your child’s diagnosis means you can tailor your parenting approaches to better meet your child’s specific needs. Behavioral strategies, safety plans and coping regimens are all more likely to be successful if the whole family is on board and promoting these tools. Doing your homework will help the treatment be as useful and effective as possible. Families can support their children with patience, calm commu-


nication and compassion. Listening to your child, linking them to supports, and educating yourself encourages the child to make the best use of resources and participate in their treatment.   Chase Trybulski M.S., LCMHC is the assistant director of child services at Newport’s West Central Behavior Health. West Central Behavioral Health is a nonprofit community behavioral health center serving the Upper Valley and Sullivan County with offices in Claremont, Lebanon and Newport, N.H. It offers mental health and substance use disorder services, treating clients across the region since 1977. Learn more at wcbh.org



SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS Mental Health America (mhanational.org) lists the following signs and symptoms to keep on your watch list, particularly during a stressful event like a coronavirus pandemic. In Adults, Young Adults and Adolescents: • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Confused thinking Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability) Feelings of extreme highs and lows Excessive fears, worries and anxieties Social withdrawal Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits Strong feelings of anger Strange thoughts (delusions) Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations) Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities Suicidal thoughts Numerous unexplained physical ailments Substance use

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In Older Children and Pre-adolescents: • • • • • • • • •

Substance use Inability to cope with problems and daily activities Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits Excessive complaints of physical ailments Changes in ability to manage responsibilities at home and/or at school Defiance of authority, truancy, theft and/or vandalism Intense fear Prolonged negative mood, often accompanied by poor appetite or thoughts of death Frequent outbursts of anger

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In Younger Children: • • • •

Changes in school performance Poor grades despite strong efforts Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits Excessive worry or anxiety (i.e. refusing to go to bed or school) • Hyperactivity • Persistent nightmares • Persistent disobedience or aggression • Frequent temper tantrums

Gregory Baker, DDS & Christopher Baker, DMD Hanover (603) 643.1552 | New London (603) 526.6000 | www.Baker-Ortho.com




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A fun and safe place for kids ages 6–10 with updates according to the Vermont Department of Health during school breaks Dec 21–24 • Dec 28–31 • Feb 15–19 • Apr 12–16 Full-day 8am-4pm • Half-day 8am-12pm After care and lunch packages available SPOTS FILL QUICKLY!

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Nature Nook

Tracks in the Snow Have you ever wondered who made those tracks? See if you can guess the animal.



ave you ever been walking in the snow and found tiny little footprints unlike your own? Sometimes they have claw marks, or maybe long slender toes. As winter begins, animal tracks can be easily found in fresh fallen snow. Grab an adult and head out for a winter walk. Looking for animal tracks can be one of the most fun, winter scavenger hunts there is! Here are some common critter tracks you can look for.

SQUIRRELS If you want to look for animal tracks right in your backyard, why not look for squirrel tracks? Squirrels are small, and so are their footprints. Squirrels have four toes on their smaller front feet, and five toes on their bigger back feet, so make sure to count the toes when you their find tracks. Squirrel feet also usually land close together, so you should find four paw prints all in one spot. They have long finger-like toes and the way they are shaped, it almost looks as if you could give a squirrel a tiny high five!

DEER AND MOOSE Deer and moose have hooves, rather than padded feet, so their tracks are some of the easiest to recognize. If you find a set of tracks that looks like two long, leaf or comma shaped “toes” right next to one other, chances are you’ve found a set of deer prints. Deer can get pretty large, but if you find deer tracks five inches or longer, they might be from a moose!




FOXES Foxes are in the dog family, so their tracks might look like the ones your pup leaves in the yard. Here are some good hints to help you tell the difference. Foxes have four roundish toes in front of a central triangular foot pad, just like a dog. But while dog tracks have round toe prints that are usually spread out, fox tracks are small and compact, and will leave a narrow, oval shaped footprint with oval shaped toes. And if you look at where the tracks land, fox tracks will appear in a straight line with one foot landing directly in front of the next.

TURKEYS Turkeys are large birds, so instead of paws (like a fox) they have long, skinny toes called “talons.”

If you’re lucky, you can find turkey tracks right in your yard. Try holding up your pointer, middle and ring fingers in the shape of a “W.” This is similar to how a turkey track is shaped, but with a short fourth toe coming out the back. Think of a small dinosaur track, about the size of your hand. Turkeys travel in groups, so if you find one track, you’ll probably find a whole bunch! (All birds have feet like this, too, so if you find what look like tiny turkey tracks, they’re probably from a songbird, like a chickadee, a goldfinch or a junco!)

Can you figure out who made these prints?






Answers: A: Mole, B: Dove, C: Moose, D: Raccoon, E: Deer

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Upper Valley Haven

The need in our community is great. Join us in making a difference for more than 14,000 people each year in the Upper Valley who are facing poverty and homelessness. 713 Hartford Ave, White River Jct., VT 05001 802-295-6500 | UpperValleyHaven.org

To Our Community... As COVID-19 continues to change our lives in so many ways, we are forced to balance an unprecedented amount of information to make the right decisions for our own health–and the wellness of those around us.

Kumon Math and Reading of Norwich 256 Route 5 South, Norwich VT 802-649-1416 linehan.therese@gmail.com


We encourage you to visit newlondonhospital.org for: • Updates on our procedures • Community resources • Wellness information to help you and your family.

In collaboration with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, New London Hospital is here for you. We continue to take steps to ensure we can deliver our mission to provide you safe and quality care. Our policies and procedures continue to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, but our mission is still the same, as it has been for more than 100 years. To receive regular community updates from our President and CEO, Tom Manion, be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter in the link provided on our website. Thank you.

P.O. Box 500 Grantham, N.H. 03753

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Kid Stuff magazine Winter 2020